Friday, September 26, 2008

More Choices

Barack Obama, or John McCain? "Hillary Clinton," some would say. Well, as I tell my kids, "that's not one of the choices."

If you had told me ahead of time, I would not have believed it could happen, but I have seen them interviewed on television, and have read that it is true, and so I am forced to believe it -- a small but substantial number of women who were disenchanted with the Democrats for selecting Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton, have now thrown their support to the Republican candidate, John McCain, apparently only because he picked Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. This boggles my mind.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for women, of either political party, running for and holding any political office in this country. In fact, I would have loved to see Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate and Sarah Palin as the Republican one, just for the thrill of seeing two strong, smart, lively, and likable women on the national stage battling it out, with a healthy debate about the issues that are most important to us, for the most powerful office in the world. I am also not arguing that no rational woman could support John McCain and Sarah Palin. Clearly, many rational women agree with the Republican platform and therefore rationally support them.

And although there is ample irony in the choice of Palin -- for example, after all the Republican brouhaha about Obama's "lack of experience," Palin has very little actual relevant governing experience and virtually no knowledge of foreign affairs; and after all the Republican brouhaha about "family values" and their condemnation of teen pregnancy, Palin is the mother of an unwed pregnant teen with a boyfriend who "plans to marry her" (can you imagine the condescending remarks about "broken black families" and the "culture of poverty" if Obama's daughter were the one who was pregnant with a "baby daddy" who "is gonna" marry her someday?); there are other similarly ironic facts, but that is not the point, here -- the long list of ironies is not why I am questioning the choice of these former Clinton supporters.

No, what I am wondering is how you go from supporting a candidate who is for adopting some sort of national health care program, is pro-choice, is in favor of increasing marginal tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, is opposed to drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, has stated that the Iraq war was a bad idea and should be ended as quickly as is reasonably possible, and generally supports every other plank in the Democratic platform (in fact had a message nearly identical to Obama's), to supporting a candidate who is against nationalizing health care, is pro-life, is in favor of cutting taxes on wealthy Americans, is all for drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and anywhere else we might find oil of some sort, has stated that we should "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," [see here for the source for the quote:], and generally supports every other plank in the Republican platform.

Do these women who have suddenly changed their allegiance because of Palin's nomination not know what McCain's and Palin's positions are on these issues? I find that hard to believe, if they were active enough in politics to have supported Clinton before she was even nominated.

Did they suddenly change their views so drastically and completely? I find that hard to believe, too, given how entrenched is the disagreement between pro-life and pro-choice; pro-war and anti-war; pro-drilling and anti-drilling; and so forth.

Does anyone have a way to explain to me how this could rationally happen? If not, I will be forced to conclude that these women truly were supporting Clinton only because she is a woman, and now have decided that they will support McCain only because McCain has a woman on the ticket and Obama does not. ("Issues be damned! We've got to elect someone with a uterus!")

In the words (word?) of Carolyn Hax (at, who provides a one-word answer for when you are rendered speechless by the sheer idiocy of something, "wow." That's all, just "wow."

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